Feature photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade
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Parents, students, educators and community leaders from more than 800 schools in more than 30 cities will stage the nation’s first-ever “school walk in” tomorrow, raising their voices in support of public schools and the students they serve.
From Los Angeles to Boston and cities in between, participants will gather in front of their school 30-45 minutes before the school day starts. “We picket, have donuts and coffee, or talk about the issues facing our school. And then we all walk in to our schools together,” reads the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools website. Each city will have its own local focus. In Milwaukee, for example, residents are fighting against the takeover and chartering of their schools. In San Diego, the focus is opting out of high-stakes tests. In Seattle, they’re fighting for more funding.
“Walk-Ins for Public Schools send a strong message that we love our public schools, and we stand united against any attempt to turn our public schools over to private operators who don’t serve all children and are not accountable to parents, voters, or a locally elected school board,” said elementary school teacher Kim Schroeder, president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.
For people interested in lending their support but who do not live in a host community, there is a sign-on letter online. The letter reads in part:
The future of public education in the United States stands at a critical crossroad.
Over the past two decades, a web of billionaire advocates, national foundations, policy institutes, and local and federal decision-makers have worked to dismantle public education and promote a top-down, market-based approach to school reform.
Under the guise of civil rights advocacy, this approach has targeted low-income, urban African-American, Latino and immigrant communities, while excluding them from the reform process. The reforms have sown distrust and division among parents and teachers, and utterly failed to improve educational outcomes for children. These attacks are racist and must be stopped.
The time is ripe for a new education movement that provides students throughout the United States, regardless of their race or income, with equitably resourced neighborhood schools.
In Milwaukee alone, 111 public schools have signed up to “walk in.” “We want vibrant, public community schools that welcome and serve all children. We want public schools that are responsive to parents and the locally elected school board,” states the website Stop Milwaukee Public Schools Takeover. “We want public schools that offer special education services, bilingual education, and other programs that our children need.”
Below is video of an earlier walk-in held in Milwaukee.